A few blog posts ago I wrote about giving yourself permission not to write when life is hard. Or if writing is not your thing, giving yourself permission not to do whatever it is you feel pressure to do and instead to relax, to simply live and breathe and be. Sometimes life throws things at you and all you’ve got in you is to duck.
I still stand by that, but in the last few weeks I've discovered something else and that is that sometimes rather than being a pressure, writing—or whatever your hobby or passion or profession is—can be a relief.
Two weeks ago my life sort of exploded. No one is hurt, injured, or dead, so I can’t really complain. We’ll all safe and well, but the life I thought we would have is no longer a possibility. We moved to a very rural part of England’s Lake District from New York City four years ago intending to stay forever. It was a big move and we had four children we wanted to see through school in one place. Now we have five children, and we have to move in three months since the school where my husband works, my children attend, and that provides our housing just announced it is closing in July.
It is very discombobulating—I can think of no other word—to suddenly have all the assumptions about what your life would look like disappear. My children were devastated by the thought of leaving their friends, their home, the lives they’ve made for themselves here. My husband had to immediately start searching for another job at a time of year when school-based jobs are thin on the ground. And I had to look around the house we’ve made a home, had planned to stay in for decades, and think about what I’d take and what I’d keep.
In the midst of all this I had a book due, a very emotional book about living through loss and suffering. And amazingly, writing this book was a huge relief to me. I could take all my confusion and grief about what had happened to us and pour it into my book. It was an emotional bloodletting, and a much needed one. I think—at least I hope—the book is better for it.
The book, When He Fell, will be out in June, and we will be moving—somewhere—in July. I’m not sure where yet, or what will happen, but I know I will keep writing—and keep giving myself permission not to.